In Italian “Bella Terra” means beautiful earth and for this month's Savvy Selections we are excited to be bringing to you a winery with some Italian heritage. Pondview Estates of Niagara-on-the-Lake is owned by Lou Puglisi & his cousin Joseph Barbera. Both are of Italian decent, Sicily to be exact. The Bella Terra term is reserved by Pondview for their premium brand wines which are only produced in exceptional vintages (wine speak for years). This month, we bring you two wines from the Bella Terra portfolio, both from 2010 – an exceptional vintage in Ontario.
Our Savvy Sommelier Derek Vollrath had the opportunity to talk with Lou who prefers to be called ‘Pondview’s Chief Wine Drinker’. Lou has been a long time friend of all of us in the Savvy Team and he keeps us in stitches with his down to earth humour. If you have not already met Lou from your visits at their winery or at our Savvy Events, rest assured that in 2014 we are creating many more ways for you to meet him…over a glass of their fine wines.
During Labour Day weekend, I visited the winery and was treated to a wonderful tasting in the barrel room (photo left). Lou & Joseph are wonderful gentlemen pulling out rare vintages, barrel samples & a gourmet antipasti spread to enjoy with their wines. During our conversation, they commented that they were grape growers first (the vineyards are 39 years old) and only since Lou was crowned Grape King was he inspired to open a winery….and we are glad that they did.
Shortly after they opened their doors, we featured them in Savvy Selections. We are delighted to shine the spotlight on them again and taste how far they have come. Especially with recent BIG news about their top end red wine – Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 – just won a GOLD medal in the National Wine Awards of Canada. We are thrilled that we can offer this to you as an optional wine before it all sells out.
As you read this month’s Savvy eZine, I hope you will get a chuckle when you learn about Lou’s brush with Royalty or how some fatherly advice steered him - pardon the pun - away from a sports car towards his future in the wine industry.
As with every month, the Savvy Selections tasting panel convened to undertaken the arduous task – it is a tough job! - of selecting the wines from Pondview that will shortly be arriving on your door step. As challenging as the work is, we find this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about Ontario wines and most of all about the winemakers.
In your September Savvy Selections you will find:
Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2012 VQA – a refreshing summer sipper
Pondview Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2011 VQA – rich and wonderful
Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA – big and bold red wine
OPTIONAL WINE: Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010 VQA – gold in a glass
Pondview are hard to find wines! Ordering additional bottles of this month’s selection or past Savvy Selections is easy. Simply e-mail me at email@example.com or call the Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926). We will make all of the arrangements for your special delivery. How is that for easy?!?
Cheers & Enjoy!
Debbie & Savvy Team
Pondview Estates Winery
“If I had bought the sports car, we would not be having this conversation”, that’s what Pondview owner Lou Puglisi (left) told me with a chuckle when we got into the part of the interview about how he ended up in the wine business. You see, Lou felt he could be doing better things with his time than sitting in school. So at the young age of 19 he decided that he would get a job in construction while continuing to work on his father’s farm.
After a few years of savings, Lou had some cash that was burning a hole in his pocket. He was thinking about getting a car when his father took him aside and let him in on a tip: the parcel of land beside the family farm was coming up for sale. Insightfully, Lou’s father explained to him that in 5 years the car would be worth nothing, whereas the parcel of land might double in value. After some reflection, instead of buying a Chevrolet Z28 Camaro, Lou opted for the 20 acre parcel of land.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, this was the first step to planting the seeds of what would become Pondview Estate Winery. Lou never did buy a Camaro. In 2008, he bought a silver Corvette for a few years. And now as a new winery & business owner, he owns a Honda CRV.
The story behind the name
I always love hearing the story of how a winery’s name comes about because picking the name is not an easy – it is like selecting a name for your child. A great deal of research goes into a name to make sure that it is not being used by another winery and that the name has meaning to the owners. How the name Pondview came about is no exception.
Lou told me that he and his wife Adriana (on left in photo) went through at least 18 possible names with all 18 being discarded for one reason or another. It was on attempt 19 that success was achieved. Just like many other evenings Lou and Adriana went for a stroll on their acreage. It was around the property’s pond that Lou looked and said to Adriana “what a great view of the pond’. After some toing & froing the name Pondview stuck.
The Grape King & Royalty
“The Grape King” is a highly sought after title that is awarded annually by the industry association Grape Growers of Ontario. All of the grape growers in the province select one grower who maintains the best vineyard in the province. With rigorous criteria and being judged by your peers, this award is significant in the industry. In 2008, Lou was the recipient of this prestigious title and as part of his duties as “King of Grapes” he served as the ambassador for the industry.
During his reign Lou attended the opening of the post graduate certificate program in Wine Business Management at the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It was during this opening that Lou was to meet Prince Charles. When it came time for Lou to shake the Prince’s hand, Lou confidently said to Charles, “it’s an honour to meet you sir. You may be the Prince, but I am the King…of Grapes”. Lou definitely has a lively sense of humour! And with that Lou has pictures of more royalty on his wall of fame in his office along photos of him with the King of Hockey - Don Cherry and the King of Canada’s nightly news - Peter Mansbridge.
The Pondview Mantra…
“Great wine is a harmony of earth and vine”. Everyone at the winery operates under this mantra. Lou explains that, “you achieve harmony by balancing what is done in the vineyard, by not stressing the vines with excess pesticides or fertilizers. My team is always looking at the vineyard in order to determine what is required to be done of the vines. If things are healthy then we leave our vineyard alone. Overall let Mother Nature tend to her vines”. In Lou’s opinion a minimalist approach will allow for better quality grapes. This month’s tasting panel sure thinks that this approach works well.
So if you are in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, I suggest that you stop by Pondview, stroll the grounds meet with Lou, have your picture taken with Royalty and try some of their award winning wines.
Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Selections!
~ SAVVY SOMMELIER TASTING NOTES ~
For this Rosé wine, Pondview’s winemaker Fred Di Profio crushed and de-stemmed the fruit, then allowed the skins to remain in contact with the juice for 6 hours, thus creating its gorgeous colour and wonderful concentration of flavours.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: Pink salmon in colour with refreshingly youthful aromas of cranberry and strawberry. The cranberry aroma also comes across on the palate along with pink grapefruit and a hint of rose petals. This medium bodied wine has great acidity along with a crisp mouth feel and a medium length cranberry finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine will remind you that summer is not over! Enjoy on its own or pair this wine with a fresh salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette dressing. The tasting panel is recommending pairing this wine with the Chicken Tarragon Salad - recipe follows.
Cellaring: Drink now!
This is a Bordeaux blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot grapes. Instead of opting to call it a Meritage, Lou chose to use Cabernet, to cover off both the Cabernet Franc and the Cabernet Sauvignon that are predominant in this red wine blend.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A bright and beautiful garnet red core (winespeak: middle of the wine) that fades to a ruby red colour as it approaches the rim of the glass. Great intensity of flavours with vanilla, cherry, cedar and prunes are discernible on the nose, while baked fruit, cedar and clover come through on the palate. This medium bodied wine has noticeable tannins, balanced acidity and a medium length red-fruit finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: This wine ain’t no chicken wine! commented Savvy Sommelier Doug during the tasting panel. This wine is a well rounded red that can be served with rare to medium rare red meats, with BBQed steak or roast beef, or event roast lamb with a peppercorn crust. Read on to discover this gem of a recipe.
Cellaring: The tannins are young and therefore need time to settle and integrate into the wine. This wine could easily cellar for 4 to 6 years and those that are patient will be rewarded.
This is one wonderful wine. In fact, Derek awards this wine with his triple B rating…BIG, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL. As Pondview’s premium label that is only produced in exceptional years, which 2010 definitely has gone down in Ontario wine industry history, this single varietal wine is impressive.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: The colour is a stunning garnet red that extends out from the core to the rim. The nose is clean with aromas of red current, dried figs and wet stone all discernible. On the palate this full bodied dry wine has noticeable flavours of red current, oak and clover spice. It ends with a medium length red current finish.
Suggested Food Pairing: This red is not for the faint of heart. Pair this wine with bacon wrapped beef tenderloin in a red wine reduction. The tasting panel is suggestions you try it with roasted flank steak with parmesan panko stuff…OMG it’s a delicious pairing – read on for this wonderful recipe.
Cellaring: This wine can be cellared for 5 to 7 years.
OPTIONAL WINE: Bella Terra Meritage VQA 2010 $39.95
Meritage is the North American term for a Bordeaux blend made using any combination of Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pondview Meritage is a blend of 50% of each of the best barrels of their Cabernet Franc & Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A deep burgundy colour, this opaque wine has California Zinfandel like characteristics. Aromas of smoke, espresso, dark chocolate, black licorice & cedar (it was not heavily oaked) that transform into tastes of super juicy black plums, overripe blackberries & black cherries. Each sip warms you up with the heat, a zip of acidity (that will mellow out with cellaring) and the light tannins.
Well balanced, stunningly complex it is no wonder that this wine won gold in the National Wine Awards of Canada.
Congratulations to Lou & his Pondview team for achieving this highly acclaimed award.
Suggested Food Pairing: What did the September tasting panel suggest you pair with this wine? Well I will give you a hint…beef, beef and beef. Do you get the idea? Barbeque season still has a good 2 or 3 months left so barbequed sirloin steak with a smoky paprika rub or lamb chops with a rosemary mustard rub would both pair well. The tasting panel is recommending you try this wine with pan-fried sirloin steak with a Chianti butter.
Cellaring: This wine is enjoyable now or can be put down for up to 10+ years.
~RECIPES TO ENJOY WITH YOUR SAVVY SELECTIONS~
With Pondview Estates Cabernet Franc Rosé…
Tarragon Chicken Salad
From: Recipes for Healthy Heart Cooking - The Lighthearted Cookbook by Anne Lindsay
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 ½ cups sliced celery
¼ cup chopped chives or green onions
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup light sour cream or light mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
In a large bowl combined chicken, celery, chives or onions, yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise and tarragon; mix lightly
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
Just before serving add almonds season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pack your picnic basket with this salad and the Rosé
With Pondview Estates Cabernet Merlot Reserve…
Roast Lamb with Peppercorn Crust
From: The Silver Plate Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons crushed dried peppercorns, an equal mix of white, black and green
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves or 1½ tablespoons dried
½ cup fresh mint leaves
5 garlic cloves, crushed
½ cup raspberry vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dry red wine
1 boned but untied leg of lamb, about 5 lbs (weight after boning)
2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
Combine 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns, rosemary, mint, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce and red wine in a shallow bowl; then marinate the lamb in the mixture for eight hours, turning occasionally.
Remove roast from marinade and drain: reserve marinade. Roll the roast, tying it with kitchen twine. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread mustard over meat and pat 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns into the mustard. Set the roast in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably and pour reserved marinade carefully around but not over the roast.
Bake 1½ hours or 18 minutes per pound, basting occasionally for medium rare roast. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes for well-done meat. Let roast stand for 20 minutes before carving.
Serve pan juices in gravy boat along with the lamb
With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon …
Roast Flank Steak with Parmesan Panko Stuffing
From Food & Drink Magazine Early Autumn 2010
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients - Steak
1.5 lbs flank steak
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or basil or a mixture
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Ingredients - Sauce
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1½ to 2 cups beef broth or stock
½ cup dry red wine
Butterfly steak lengthwise using a horizontal cut (do not cut all the way through to opposite side). Open up on butcher paper; cover with plastic wrap and whack with smooth side of meat pounder until ¾ inch thick
Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium frying pan, add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Toss panko bread crumbs with Parmesan, pine nuts, herbs, salt and pepper in a bowl & add onion mixture and toss until well-combined.
Preheat oven to 375°F & lay pounded steak so grain of meat goes left to right in front of you. Leaving 2 inches uncoated on far long side, pat filling over meat. Beginning near you, tightly roll up the steak forming a neat roll. Cut 5 pieces of twine, each about 20 inches long and beginning at the middle, tie roast, spacing ties evenly apart. Trim twine ends and discard then roll tied steak into flour until heavily coated - be sure to discard flour that does not cling to meat.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil (med-med/high heat) in a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven & add steak to pan, turning 8 to 10 minutes in total until lightly browned on all sides. Turn roast seam-side down in pan. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 130°F.
Remove steak to cutting board, cover meat with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
For sauce, add flour to hot pan; stir over medium heat 1 minute or until absorbed. Pour 1½ cups broth and wine; gently whisking, bring to boil. Sauce should be nicely thickened; if too thick add more broth as needed; add seasoning as needed. Strain into a warmed container.
Slice steak width-wise into 1/2–inch-thick slices, removing strings as encountered. Serve slices napped with a bit of sauce; garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs. Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed cauliflower florets tossed with bits of roasted red pepper.
With Pondview Estates Bella Terra Meritage 2010…
Pan-fried Sirloin Steak with Simple Chianti Butter Sauce & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
From Cook with Jamie My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
Ingredients – Mashed Potatoes
14 oz potatoes, peeled and halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a knob of butter
Ingredients – Steak
2 x 7oz sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick fat scored
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 knobs of butter
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 large wineglass of Chianti
A few sprigs of watercress
Good-quality of extra virgin olive oil
Put the potatoes into a large pan of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender. Drain them in a colander and allow them to sit for 4 minutes to steam away any excess moisture. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash them up, stirring in a 2 glugs of olive oil, the Parmesan and butter. Taste, season and then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place over a pot of simmering water to keep warm.
Heat a heavy frying pan, large enough to book both steaks at once without them touching. Season your steaks and brush them with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, hold the steaks fatty-edge down in the frying pan to render and colour the fat. When the fat is golden, fry the steaks for 8 minutes in total for medium-rare, turning them every minute. Remove from the pan to rest.
Turn the heat down and add a knob of butter to the pan. Fry your shallots and thyme for 4 minutes, then add the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the resting juices from the meat, add the 2 remaining knobs of butter and take the pan off the heat. Stir around to emulsify and make a really simple red wine sauce.
Taste, season and serve with your steak and lovely olive oil mashed potatoes with a scattering of watercress and a drizzle of quality olive oil.
Enjoy this month’s Savvy Selections!